CCI has been working with Professor Glenn Waller from the University of Sheffield to assess whether people with more severe or enduring anorexia nervosa have poorer outcomes with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). We also wanted to know whether people who have struggled with anorexia nervosa for longer are less likely to complete CBT treatment. We studied 134 people with anorexia nervosa who completed measures of eating disorder symptoms and quality of life before, during, and after treatment. We found that the duration of illness or severity of anorexia nervosa behaviours, attitudes or weight were not associated with treatment completion or outcomes in CBT. This study shows that individuals with more severe or long-standing anorexia nervosa did just as well in CBT as any other patient starting treatment. These findings offer hope for patients who have struggled with anorexia nervosa illness for a long time they have just as much chance of doing well in CBT as any other individual starting treatment. Therefore clinicians should continue to administer evidence-supported treatments such as CBT for patients with anorexia nervosa, regardless of duration or severity of illness.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The findings will also be presented at the Eating Disorders Research Society annual meeting in Sydney in October.
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